Alzheimer’s is a cruel disease. When our loved ones are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, all of us, including our loved one, are terrified. We have a million questions about the prognosis and, among other things, what kinds of Alzheimer’s communities might our loved one live well in.
During the infancy stages of Alzheimer's, many people do quite well at home. Some require a nurse for a few hours a day, while others require a round the clock nurse for adequate. Everyone’s needs are as unique as the disease and their memory. At some point, though, devastating as it is, we’re faced with the realization that our loved one needs to be in an Alzheimer's care community or some type of memory care community, where they are safe and protected from harm. As challenging as it may be to even consider outside care, and it is, it’s an unfortunate reality we have to face. Read More...
Initially, and during the infancy stages of Alzheimer’s you may be more comfortable having your loved one stay at home. Here are some resources that are likely local to consider:
- Home health services. The most common in-home support is for personal care, i.e., eating, grooming, dressing, and, among other things, bathing. Some senior home memory care providers also offer assistance with cooking and household chores. Most offer basic nursing care, medication management, wound care and proper use of medical equipment.
- Respite care. Respite care services offer in-home care, in addition to care in Alzheimer’s facilities.
- Adult day care. Adult day care services, sometimes known elder care programs, provide care and activities for adults who need assistance when in-home caregivers are unavailable. Some of these programs are tailored for individuals with Alzheimer's disease. These services are typically available during daytime hours, Monday through Friday. Usually, adult day care programs offer a midday meal, and some also provide transportation between the facility and home.
As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, as mentioned, the progression is different in everyone. If residential care is still an option, that’s something worth considering. However, if an Alzheimer’s community would better served our loved ones, here are a few things to consider:
- Assisted living. Seniors with Alzheimer’s may need help with personal care and routine activities, such as managing medications or preparation of meals, but may not require the services of a skilled nursing facility. Assisted living facilities, also referred to as community-based residential facilities or group homes, are an excellent choice for seniors contending with functional mental impairment, yet can move around safely without assistance and who can care for themselves with moderate help.
- Specialized memory care facilities. Individuals who have a need for additional supervision and support than is provided by assisted living facilities may be better served by specialized dementia care assisted living communities. These communities usually have larger staffs with specialized staff training. Residents benefit from enhanced safety and security features such as secured and monitored, as well as much needed visual cues, e.g. pictures or signs. These help Alzheimer's patients feel more comfortable and better oriented in their new living environment.
- Nursing homes. Individuals who need professional care for medical conditions. In addition, Alzheimer's disease patients may be best served in a nursing home. These skilled nursing facilities provide round-the-clock nursing care. Special units for patients who suffer from Alzheimer's are often available within nursing homes. These units are designed so that activities, living environment, staff training and philosophy of care are based on the special needs of people with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Keep in mind that seeking outside help can alleviate both emotional and physical worries with respect to care giving. Also, painful as it is to place our loved ones in an Alzheimer’s care community, we have to think about our loved one’s needs and how best to serve them during this health crisis.